What DAW do you use!


This was inspired by my post in the Organ thread that basically I can’t move on from Sonar 8.5 because when Cakewalk changed to the X series they changed the interface, the hotkeys, basically everything and I hate it. It KILLS my workflow. I’ve tried other DAWS (like reaper) and none has really quite gelled with me.

So: What is your go-to DAW and why? If you were me what would you upgrade to?


Well, although I use Samplitude Pro X3 the most, and Digital Performer 9.12 on occasion, those update at a glacial pace that is REALLY frustrating (ancient bugs persist over years and years without ever getting fixed), and so I’m really gravitating toward finally jumping into my copy of Sonar Platinum and get to know it better.

I got it during a sale, but let me tell you – since Gibson bought it away from Roland, it is an amazing thing to behold — they update with new features and bug fixes EVERY MONTH!!! At this point, I’d have to tell anyone it is likely the best value for the money in the DAW universe (perhaps besides Reaper, which is dirt cheap and also receives lots of attention, but that is totally new to me having only downloaded it last week).

I’m so impressed by their update schedule that I went ahead and bought into the “updates for life” offer when it was around. I guess what I’m saying is, it is worth looking at NOW – it is not entirely different from the one you are used to, either! :slight_smile:

We’ll be learning it at the same time, so don’t look to me for much advice! But Samplitude and DP have just about worn me out with their limitations and shortcomings. Plus, Brad spoils us so!



I haven’t looked at Platinum because the X series made me want to stab myself in the eyes with a fork. They took a near perfect workflow and bloated it into an unwieldy non-intuitive (imho) mess. Of course, ANY DAW will seem that way to me at this point though and SONAR does have a really really good engine.


I was a Cubase user for many years, but they finally out priced me. I really like Studio One. I do quick things on Reaper, but they are constantly improving. I have been meaning to try Mixcraft. Ableton was not my cup of tea.


Presonus Studio One here, started out with Cool Edit Pro went to Cubase then to current. I like the workflow for my needs.



I use a lot of external and internal hardware like Sonar V-Studio 700 I/O and Yamaha SW1000xg/ DS2416 / PLG150DX
So configuring DAWS is an ASIO pit full of punji sticks.

I have Cubase, Sonar, Reaper, FL Studios, Mixcraft.
FL Studio being the headbanger outrider:-) although Glyn Brown has done some epic orchestral sound track work with it.

Reaper is still a bit of a ‘science project’ but it’s getting there. The notator is cool.

Sonar is a beast and be like …

Cubase is well … Cubase.:disappointed:

I’m leaning towards Mixcraft at the moment - still playing.

…and of course my old Voyetra Record Producer Pro still does what it’s supposed to for quick n dirty jingles.


I suppose the other thing that makes me unique is I use my DAW for about 90% MIDI, I use an old Roland VS-2480 for audio and final tracking and mixing and I love it. But, it’s very primitive in terms of effects and processing so I have to export a fair amount of audio and process that in the DAW. But really, the DAW for me is about sequencing.


Same here 99% MIDI. Can’t sing for SH&T


I too still use Sonar 8 and have not been excited about upgrading. I also use it mainly for midi sequencing.

  • Paul


Cubase for me. I have been a user since Cubase VST in 2001, so I guess I am too used to its workflow.


It’s Cubase with a few additional options.
The thing I simply cannot do without is the Expression Maps feature which makes handling large orchestral templates simpler by an order of magnitude.


Well, NOTHING will ever come close to Bank Street Music on my Commodore 64 for the rush factor. (Back then!)

It is nice that so many of the DAW folks offer demos, but really, it takes weeks to get used to a program, I don’t care which one it is!

Cakewalk is still offering their stuff for “rent” so you can play with it a few months and if it isn’t working for you just stop paying. I started with the Pro version rental, and after three months went all out for Platinum during a no-brainer sale they had. (But my old standbys Samplitude and Digital Performer lulled me away – now I wish I’d stuck with Sonar, frankly. None of the bugs the other two have, ARA with Melodyne works perfectly, esp. Midi from Audio… it is really impressive.)

That is not to say Samp and DP are shiite – but they are frustrating much more so than Platinum with its MIDI filters and FX, easy integration with a controller, great piano roll with note mutes, I could go on and on.

For film work, DP is a good program for wrangling lots of sample-based instruments and for creating gigantic templates of orchestral and other sampled instruments.

Samplitude has my favorite editing environment with its object-based editing, great cleanup tools (I have the Pro X3 suite that also comes with Sound Forge Pro 11 and that integrates with Spectralayers Pro 4 amazingly), a pretty good piano roll editor, and an adequate controller surface interface, even though it is a bit confusing at first.

Been using Samplitude since '98 and DP since '91, when it was just “Performer” and MIDI-only. So, I am the poster boy for being slow to change! :blush:

So, you make your choices and live with them, or own them all like I seem to be headed to do!!!



At first blush Mixcraft seems to be all about wave / audio (video)
But I’ve been investigating the MIDI aspects and it’s not as bad as I first thought. The stock piano is a bit of a surprise. Quite reasonable IMHO.
It’s well worth downloading and having a play.


I thought DP had mutes?
Anyway, I have enough DAWs to last a lifetime! (already had stents and bypass :slight_smile:)

If only you could pull all the good bits out of each. Modular, like the whole notion of VSTs

Talk about commodore, my first foray to sequencing was Voyetra on a 486 with Sound Blaster 2.0. 1991-2 I should think, although the world changed when I saw and heard an M1 hanging off an Atari.


Yes, DP now, finally, has mutes for MIDI notes.

You’re not kidding about building the ultimate “Frankenstein DAW” from the best parts of the other ones! :smile:

Those early days of MIDI were extremely exciting, that is certain! After the Commodore, I got a Mac Plus with MOTU Performer 2.41, I think, and souped it up to a screaming 25MHz monster with an add-on accelerator circuit board I had to solder to the bent-upwards legs of the Mac’s CPU. Used that for years live and in the studio. Still have it!



I’ve been with Cubase since its first steps on the Atari ST, so pretty used to its workflow by now. But recently, I’ve been experimenting with alternatives that have a more compact workflow:

  • Harrison Mixbus is an interesting concept: reduction to a more studio-like mixing approach gives a more intuitive and efficient workflow, since everything is very much pre-set (EQ, compressor, buses, …). You can still use plugins, but you get pretty far using just the basic mixing tools.
  • Recently, I’ve bought Softubes Console 1 Mk2, and in the process I’ve moved to Presonus Studio One - it integrates very well with Console 1, and the workflow is REALLY efficient.

The move from Cubase to Console 1 still gives me a bit of a learning curve - I need to un-learn and re-learn some typical processes, but ATM I feel that this combo gives me a very comfortable platform for my everyday mixing tasks (mostly quick mixdowns of multi-track practice recordings)




Oh yes - I use Harrison’s Mixbus for mixing audio tracks, but not much for MIDI … YET! I’ve supported that project since it came out, knowing they were going to take it far. (They are major supporters of the Ardour DAW effort as well, and are based on Ardour as its foundation.)

Waiting for 32C to come out in May!



You mean the v4 version? Been playing with the 32C for some time now; I prefer it to the basic Mixbus, even though it is a bit hard on the eye with its busy GUI.

BTW: there is a special @Harrison: you can buy 32C for $99 and get a reduced price for the upgrade to v4 until tomorrow: http://harrisonconsoles.com/site/store-specials.html

So, if you’re considering Mixbus, this is a time to do it at a pretty nice pricetag!




Yes, V4 is what I meant. I’ve had both the regular Mixbus and the 32C version since they were released. I’m very excited by what is coming up! But I am on the fence over whether to upgrade Mixbus 3 to version 4 or just wait it out till May for 32C. You are correct though that the 32C EQ section does make for a pretty busy panel – thankfully I have a very large monitor here!!! :wink:



One of the reasons I persist with Cubase and Sonar are the patch mappings for hardware. I use a lot of older hardware synths and it is nice to plug them in to a track and have the patch selection automagic from the DAW.
The close integration of Yamaha moXF and Cubase is a real benefit.
Writing patch maps for instruments is a chore to say the least.